Competitive table tennis action made it's return this week following the enforced 2 month break due to lockdown in Guernsey. The Guernsey Table Tennis Association is continuing with the season that was around 60% completed prior to the break and has cut a round of fixtures, which roughly equates to 5 matches for each team.
The result of the cuts means that action only took place in Divisions 1 and 4 this week, with resumption in the others Divisions only occurring the following week.
For the top flight of the Doric Insurance sponsored leagues the equation is simple as there remains to be just one rotation of matches left to play following this weeks fixtures, which saw the final match of the 3rd round of matches completed.
There was no room for easing into it for the leading sides as table toppers Lions A faced off against title rivals Whistlers A in a big fixture.
The Lions side held a decent 4 point advantage heading into the fixture, but looked like they may have a tough evening on their hands due to the absence of Ryan Bichard.
Despite this fact, they performed exceptionally well and earned an excellent 7-3 win which now sees them 6 points clear with just 5 matches left. Jamie Ferbrache showed absolutely no signs of rust and produced his best table tennis of the season with a man of the match performance. He had not won all 3 singles matches in a fixture yet this season, but achieved so here with some gritty performances. His evening could not have started better as he earned a superb 4 set win over averages leader Lawrence Stacey after having dropped the opening set. His next victory was just as good as it involved fighting back from 2-1 down to edge past Matt Casey 12-10 in the deciding 5th end of a classic. In a similar encounter with Ryan Gilson he again battled back well from a 2-1 deficit to take the final 2 ends 11-9, 11-8. Sandwiched between the 3 singles wins, he also teamed with Ben Foss to defeat Casey and Gilson in 4 sets in the doubles rubber. Foss too had a stellar evening and comfortably beat all of the Whistlers players without dropping a set. Despite the defeat, each of the Whistlers players earned consolation wins over 2nd Division reserve Jonah Ingrouille.
3rd placed side Lions B earned a matching 7-3 of their own against 4th placed side Whistlers B in a match where Phil Ogier was in good form. Ogier started his night confidently by easing through the opening 2 ends of his encounter with Island Men's Singles champion Joshua Stacey, however Stacey pinched the 3rd and 4th ends 14-12, 15-13 to force the decider. Ogier raised his level to that of the opening ends to comfortably see it out 11-3 and followed up strongly with straight sets wins over Ellis Tomlin and Ben Sharp. Dawn Morgan also came out of the blocks well and earned straight sets wins over Tomlin and Sharp. She too had Stacey on the ropes when leading 2-1, however the Whistlers player battled through the 4th and 5th ends 11-9, 11-8. Ogier and Morgan also combined well in the doubles where they defeated Tomlin and Sharp comfortably in straight sets. Andre De Carteret also picked up a fine 5 set win over Sharp in a epic encounter where 3 of the ends went past the regulation 11 points, including the decider which he edged 14-12.
Lions C picked up just their 2nd win of the season during their comfortable 8-2 win over bottom placed side Lions D. Paul Hainsworth led the way strongly with a trio of straight sets wins over Liam Robilliard, Steve Ozanne and Charlotte Casey. Andy Gill and Sam Clark both earned wins over Ozanne and Casey before teaming to win the doubles match over Ozanne and Casey in 4 sets. Robilliard defeated Gill in 4 sets and Clark in straight sets for his side.
As the 4th Division has the same structure of 6 teams as the 1st Division, the resultant fixtures remaining to be played are in the same vein.
The final matches from the penultimate round saw league leaders Lions J maintain their strong 6 point lead at the top. They defeated Lions M 7-3 in a match where averages leader Graham Mallett defeated Jan Priest, Jenny Powell and Cameron Powell in singles action. Lionel Jones added wins against Priest and Cameron, whilst Derek Cave beat Cameron in 4 sets. The doubles was won by Mallett and Jones over Jenny and Cameron in straight sets.